Facilitator Bill Davini writes, “Hillbilly Elegy [by J. D. Vance] was a deeply moving and disturbing personal experience for me in which I was challenged by the limits of my compassion. My reaction to this book was one of anger and rejection—which makes it a fertile ground for contemplation. In my darkest moments with this book, I asked questions such as: What are we to make of people who are born with privilege and who throw away their gifts in perverse and cavalier ways? What do we owe to people who don’t take responsibility for themselves and yet see themselves as victims? Are men who are not able to get the same jobs that were done by their fathers and grandfathers owed a guarantee by society? What does it mean to respect such people and how do we bring ourselves into dialogue with their opinions, and what do we do when they seem ready to follow demagogues who pander to their fears?”
The above reactions are inconsistent with the way Bill understands Christianity and with the way he would wish to view himself. Join Paula Northwood and Bill as they grapple to understand these and other issues that surfaced in reading this book.
Bill Davini is a retired IT professional and longtime member of Plymouth Church. In both of these capacities, Bill has facilitated groups and discussions. Bill looks forward to hearing and sharing reactions with others, particularly those who have differing opinions of the people in this book!
Paula Northwood, Minister for Spiritual Formation at Plymouth Church, grew up in Ohio not too far from the home of the author.